In the dark days of winter we all long for the warmth and colour of springtime. Take heart, because with a little forethought and a minimum of work you can plant spring bulbs indoors and force them to bloom. The vibrant colours and scent of spring bulbs will help you wait until the weather out of doors can support the blooms in your garden.
Nearly all spring bulbs must be chilled for a period of time from eight to as much as fifteen weeks before they believe they’ve experienced winter and are ready to bloom. During the chill time the bulbs must be kept between 35 and 45 degrees F. The exception to this rule are amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus which can be planted in pots and forced to bloom without a chill time.
When selecting bulbs to plant indoors choose the largest bulbs you can find. They will produce the most blooms. Pot the bulbs in potting soil leaving the tips of the bulb above the soil. Most bulbs will sprout indoors in two to three weeks. During the sprouting time keep the pots in indirect light. Then when buds form, move the pot to direct light. You should have blooms in about four weeks.
Excellent choices for indoor blooms during winter are daffodils and narcissus, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinth, iris, snowdrops and hyacinths. For more information on bringing an early spring indoors see the following sites and search for “forcing indoor blooms.”